Moving A Hill For Tulsa's New Hills Shopping Center

Monday, November 13th 2006, 10:52 am
By: News On 6

Sometimes you have to move mountains to get something done. Well, maybe not mountains, but in the case of the Tulsa Hills Shopping Center, they are carving down a sizable hillside.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says if you've driven on US Highway 75 in southwest Tulsa, you might have noticed some new views. They've lowered an entire hill 30 feet, and they're not done yet.

The big machines rumble up and down the hill again and again. Chipping away relentlessly at the hillside. "It's just a massive job." Sherwood Construction's Harold Bogle says it rivals some of their biggest road projects, leveling a piece of land a mile-long and half-mile wide to make way for the Tulsa Hills Shopping Center.

Oklahoma is often accused of being flat. But as the name of shopping center would suggest, it gets hilly out near 71st and US highway 75. "Yeah, we're taking about a 70-foot hill, taking about a 70-foot cut here on this hill to level the site out by the time we're through."

And while they're lowering the west side of the hill by 70-feet, they're raising the east side by about 40 feet. "There's 1.6-million on this site to move." Steve Berg: "1.6-million?” Harold Bogle: "Yards, cubic yards.”

Sherwood has 6 giant scrapers and about a dozen pieces of supporting equipment. With this equipment, they can move about 65,000 cubic yards of dirt per week. They scrape layers off the hill at the rate of about 6 inches per day, until, as they put it, it just sort of melts away.

The changing landscape has created new and interesting views of things that have been there a long time. From the highway, you can now see the entire ORU campus. They're not moving heaven, just earth. "Well, leveling out the world just a little bit, so we can build."